Three things: 2016 brings entertaining games early

1. Beavers steal three points

Bemidji State and Alaska played the lone conference series this weekend. Both teams were  too close to the WCHA cellar for comfort, and both teams needed the points this weekend to lift themselves out of it — BSU came into the weekend in eighth place (10 points) while Alaska was just a point behind in ninth (and out of playoff position).

The Beavers ended up getting the upper hand, earning three points and putting some separation  themselves and the Nanooks in two entertaining games. And because it’s the WCHA, both games went to overtime. Myles Fitzgerald scored two goals on Saturday, including the game-winner with 7.1 seconds left in OT, as BSU won 6-5. On Sunday, Leo Fitzgerald scored BSU’s lone goal in the third period to get the tie.

The three points pulled BSU up to sixth place with 13 league points; they will stay in Alaska this week for a series against Alaska Anchorage. The Nanooks, meanwhile, are still in ninth place and have three straight road series — at Huntsville, at Northern Michigan and at Wisconsin.

2. The streak ends

Bowling Green went 1-2-0 this week, losing to 1-0 Western Michigan on Wednesday in Toledo before splitting with Clarkson on their home rink Saturday and Sunday. The Falcons outscored the Knights 6-3 on Saturday, but Sunday’s 3-2 loss snapped the Falcons’ 14-game unbeaten streak at BGSU Ice Arena. That was an impressive feat. Now the Falcons have seven more home games in the regular season, if they can keep up their strong play at home it should give them a big push, both in the Pairwise and the WCHA standings.

3. WCHA decent in holiday tournaments

WCHA teams participated in three different holiday tournaments, with various results.

Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan both played in the Great Lakes Invitational. The Huskies took second and the Wildcats took third. The Huskies beat Michigan State in overtime in the semifinals but lost to Michigan 4-2 in the finals. The Wolverines scored four unanswered goals to top the Huskies. The Wildcats also lost to Michigan and beat Michigan State in overtime. In all, the GLI was something of a wash for the conference’s overall record vs. the Big Ten — the league is now 8-6-3 against B1G teams — but it showed that both teams were capable of skating with a strong team like Michigan.

Ferris State participated in Minnesota’s Mariucci Classic, also taking third place. The Bulldogs lost to Harvard 7-3 in the first game but topped UConn 5-2 in the consolation championship. It was a typically decent performance for the Bulldogs, who are 9-9-4 overall and still have yet to lose two games in a weekend.

Finally, Lake Superior State went 1-1 in ThatVermont’s Catamount Cup. LSSU lost to the hosts 1-0 but turned around and blanked Brown 3-0 in the second game.  gave them second place in the tournament. The Lakers, who are 4-3-1 in their last eight games, host Bowling Green this weekend.